MILAN Inter Milan fired coach Gian Piero Gasperini on Wednesday after he managed only one draw and four defeats in his first five competitive games in charge.
The final straw was Tuesday night's dismal performance in a 3-1 defeat at promoted Novara, who themselves had failed to win in their first two Serie A outings of the season.
"The club thanks Gian Piero Gasperini for his effort he showed in developing the role, and expresses regret at the interruption of the working relationship," 2010 European champions Inter in a statement on their website (www.inter.it).
"At the end of the day, the results have determined everything," Gasperini told reporters at Inter's training ground. "I'm very disappointed.
"We had established a good rapport, it's a shame to have had to interrupt it. There's much regret all round."
Inter added that Daniele Bernazzani and Giuseppe Baresi had taken charge of training on Wednesday morning.
Gasperini, 53, is the third coach to leave Inter since the departure of Jose Mourinho following the 2009/10 treble-winning season, the club having also parted company with Rafael Benitez and Leonardo.
Last year, Inter saw their run of five successive scudettos ended by neighbours AC Milan and were humiliated by Schalke 04 in the Champions League, losing 5-2 at home to the Germans on their way to a quarter-final exit.
Striker Samuel Eto'o was sold to Russia's Anzhi Makhachkala in the close season and replacements Diego Forlan and Mauro Zarate have so far failed to impress.
Ansa news agency listed Claudio Ranieri as favourite to replace him followed by Luis Figo, Delio Rossi and Walter Zenga.
Gasperini, who began his coaching career with Juventus' youth team, had previously spent just over four seasons with Genoa, leading them out of Serie B and turning them into one of the most competitive sides in the top flight.
He was also in charge at Crotone from 2003-06. Much of his playing career was in the second and third divisions, although he played in Serie A with Pescara.
His appointment in June drew much scepticism as he had never coached one of the major clubs before.
Critics have already suggested that his downfall was his insistence of trying to impose his 3-4-3 system, which worked well at Genoa, on Inter.
Club president Massimo Moratti said last week he would prefer a four-man defence but Gasperini failed to heed the warning.
Inter visit Bologna on Saturday and travel to CSKA Moscow in the Champions League the following Tuesday. Inter lost their opening game 1-0 at home to Trabzonspor.
(Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Justin Palmer)